Hello everyone, it’s me, Floyd. Recently, I’ve been publishing some old essays I recovered from an old computer, both to preserve my body of work, and so other people can use them for resources.
This one is an essay comparing and contrasting the United States and Canada. I have no recollection of writing it, but it’s apparently from a geography class. It’s a bit dated at times, but still relevant overall. As a final note, this is the version I would have handed in, so any mistakes I made as a student are still present.
“The United States and Canada“
The United States and Canada are often thought of as very similar countries.
Actually, the two have many different characteristics. They both have different kinds
of governments, ways of life, militaries, and geographical features.
The United States has more of a conservative government. The legislative branch
has a Republican majority. Bill Clinton is one of the most conservative Democratic
leaders, even despite the current affairs. Though we often say we live in a democracy, it
is actually a republic. In our government, there are the three main branches. The
branches are the judiciary, executive, and legislative. Our legislative branch is divided
into two more parts, the Senate and House of Representatives. To pass a bill, it must be
approved by majority vote in each part of the legislative branch. Then, it goes to the
President, who can either sign and pass it, or veto it, which usually kills it. The United
States became independent in 1776, but we also had to win a war against the British to
become fully independent.
Americans have their own ways of life. Due to the high wages and low
unemployment, the people are able to participate in more expensive activities. Sports
qualify as one of the biggest pastimes in the country. Millions of people will watch
football, basketball, and hockey on television or in person. The arts are big here. Plays,
movies, museums, and concerts are viewed by many, and their popularity is on the rise.
The military here is regarded as the most powerful in the world. The defense
budget is the highest in the world, 266 billion dollars. Our troop strength, while not the
largest, has a total of around 1.5 million active troops and another 1.9 million reserve
troops. We also have a very powerful navy. We have 12 air craft carriers, nine more
than the next biggest country. In addition, there is a total of over 200 smaller vessels.
The military has a history of intervening in other wars. This history started in the World
Wars, when we intervened, and had a large impact on the wars. During the World Wars,
the United States first was recognized as a world power. Today, we have intervened so
often, we are considered the world’s policeman.
The United States contains a wide variety of geographical features. In northern
Alaska, the average temperature is below -15 in January, and in the southwest in July
averages over 90 degrees. Due to the size of the country, there is room for many kinds
of agriculture. Some of the chief agricultural products are cattle, milk, corn, soybeans,
hogs, wheat, and cotton. Mined goods can also be found, such as petroleum, natural gas,
and coal. All kinds of physical features exist, from tundras in Alaska to deserts in the
Unlike the conservative American government, Canada has a more liberal
government. The leading party in Canada is the Liberal party. The leader of Canada,
Jean Chretien, is a member of the Liberal party. Canada’s government is a constitutional
democracy. Canada, unlike the United States, never became a fully independent nation
from Great Britain. Queen Elizabeth II is still considered as an important icon, and other
parts of the government have an English influence. Canada, however, did become partly
independent by making treaties with Great Britain. Canada also has the same three
branches of government, but in some ways they contrast greatly. The cabinet, part of the
executive branch here, is part of the legislative branch there. Another big difference is in
vetoing. The prime minister is not allowed to veto, giving him much less power than the
The ways of life in Canada differ from ours. Much of the city life is similar, but
the arctic life is like nothing found here. Most of the people living in the arctic are the
Inuit, and have lived there for many years. The jobs in the arctic involve very few
services, but deal in directly harvesting goods. Many jobs are hunting, fishing, and
trapping. One difference between the countries is that Canada has two languages. Many
people in Canada speak French along with English, since the early Canadian settlers were
mainly French. The province of Quebec has French as the first language, and has
different cultural traits than the rest of the country. Talk of creating an independent
Quebec has been considered. Of course, hockey is a big way of life in Canada. It is the
number one sport in Canada, and the biggest hockey country in the world.
The Canadian military is much weaker than the American. The active troop
strength is only 70,000 and the nation defense budget is 1.6% of Canada’s budget.
Unlike the United States, Canada stays fairly neutral. The last war Canada was in was
the Korean War. Even when the United States was fighting for independence, Canada
decided to stay peaceful.
The geography in Canada contrasts greatly from ours. In January, much of
northern Canada averages under -20. In July, most of Canada averages only in the 60’s,
and the northern part averages below 40. Canada, being one of the largest countries in
the world, also has some of the largest variety of agriculture. The leading agriculture
products are cattle, wheat, milk, hay, pigs, poultry, barley, eggs, vegetables, tobacco, and
fruit. Canada also has a lot of fishing, lumbering, and manufacturing. Much of the arctic
region of Canada has large mineral deposits, such as petroleum, natural gas, iron ore,
copper, zinc, coal, nickel, and uranium. Canada has more resources than almost every
other country in the world.
The United States and Canada have different governments, ways of life, militaries,
and geographical features. Both countries are truly different, and have good sides and